Tag Archives: goat cheese

Sun Dried Tomato Appetizers

As promised!  Yet another thing you can do with all the Sun Dried Tomatoes we made last week.

I made these delightful little appetizers for brunch last Sunday.  I wished after the fact that I had made twice as many because they were gone almost immediately.

That may have been partially because I ate at least four of them.  C’est la vie.  Anyway.

I wanted to be able to call these little beauties “Sun Dried Tomato Crostini” but sadly I did not have a baguette (GF or otherwise) sitting around.  But if you wanted to impress your friends you could use little toasted slices of baguette and call it crostini.  Because that just sounds so much more sophisticated than “appetizers”.

Or we could go the French route and call them “Sun Dried Tomato Hors D’oeuvres”.  (Yes, I had to look up the spelling.)  Or, my favorite, “Sun Dried Tomato Amuse-Bouche”.  But since most of us are not running French bistros I guess “appetizers” will do.

(Note to self:  Someday open a French bistro so you can use fancy words like “amuse-bouche” and not feel ridiculous.)

This recipe makes just enough for 12 but you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the amounts listed to make more.  These come together in under5 minutes and are super yummy and impressive on a buffet table.

Sun Dried Tomato Appetizers

12 of your favorite crackers

2 oz goat cheese

2 oz cream cheese, room temperature

a splash of heavy cream (to get the mixture to spreading consistency)

2 tsp minced fresh chives

1/4 tsp minced garlic

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

12 Sun Dried Tomatoes

Instructions:

Mix goat cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream, chives, garlic, and salt and pepper until smooth and spreadable.

Spread a thick layer of cheese on each cracker.  Top with a Sun Dried Tomato.

Makes 12 appetizers.

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Filed under Appetizers, Party Fare

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

This is an incredibly easy, colorful, flavorful, textural summer salad experience. I’ve eaten it two days in a row now for lunch.  And I may have it again tomorrow.  This might be a problem if it weren’t a salad.

And it all came about because I didn’t want to do dishes.

You see, the other day I was preparing some of The Pioneer Woman‘s BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers.  (Sorry no recipe link – it’s only in her first cookbook)  They are to die for and have become a party staple at our house because everyone just loves them.  I could eat six of them in five minutes.  You know, I could…not that I ever did, mind you…

Anyway,  my oven safe rack was already baconed up so I thought why not make some candied bacon?!?  If you’ve never had it, candied bacon is incredibly easy to make and mind-blowingly delicious.  And what better way to consume it than over a bed of healthy baby arugula?  Score!

Here’s everything you need right here – arugula, goat cheese, peaches, and the candied bacon (we’ll get to that part in a second).   Now, I was only making salad for myself so I only have one peach here.  I’d say one peach/person would be good.  For a main dish salad anyway.  For side salads probably half a peach would work for each.

For the candied bacon – just take some bacon slices (mine were pre-cut in halves for the poppers but they don’t have to be), and toss them around in some brown sugar.

I sorta cleaned my rack for this shot.

Place them on an oven safe rack over an aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about half an hour or until done to your liking.  (You’ll want to watch them closely after that 30 minute mark as they go from wiggly to burnt in a very short amount of time.  I left mine in a couple minutes too long and they were a bit too dark for my taste.)

Don’t you just love it when your peaches are perfectly ripe and the skin just peels right off?  Nom.  Wonderful.

For the dressing I made a super quick mustardy vinaigrette.  This is everything you need right here.  I love vinaigrettes because they’re so easy to remember and freehand with whatever you’ve got lying around.  3 parts oil : 1 part acid (vinegar or lemon/lime juice) plus flavor additions.  I love how the slight sweetness of the apple cider vinegar compliments the bacon and peaches.

If you have a cruet like this one you get to go the easy route and just pour up to the lines.  If not, it’s still really quick and easy.  (And you don’t need to add water.  That’s what the “W” stands for.  I find adding even a little bit of water makes a vinaigrette too thin unless you plan on adding a ton of dry ingredients – like a packet of salad dressing mix or something.)

The peaches are sweet, tart, and succulent.  The goat cheese tangy, creamy, and smooth.  The arugula green and dry and slightly bitter.  The bacon salty, savory, sweet, and crispy.  Paired with a simple mustardy vinaigrette that brings it all together?  Perfect.

Enjoy!

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Candied Bacon

8 cups baby arugula

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

6 slices bacon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place an oven safe rack over it.

Dredge bacon slices in brown sugar and lay flat on rack.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until done to your liking.  Allow to cool and crumble.

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk (or shake, if you have a cruet) to emulsify.

Portion out arugula between 4 plates, top with goat cheese, peaches, and candied bacon.

Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Makes 4 main dish salads.

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White Pizza

Okay, so you’re probably wondering by now, “Do these people eat anything besides pizza???  Good lord.”

Well yes, yes we do.  Six out of seven nights a week we eat something other than pizza.  I just happen to LOVE pizza.  I also happen to LOVE creating specialty pizzas.  Because HELLO – if you want a specialty pizza at a restaurant they charge like twice as much for it so why not make it the way you like it at home?  There is pretty much no limit to what you can put on a pizza crust.  This means every time you make it it’s like embarking on a great creative endeavor.

The only guideline I try to stick to when choosing toppings is keeping the cheese limited to 8 ounces.  I know we all LOVE lots of gooey cheese on our pizza.  And as you can see from the photo above we’re not lacking in the cheese department.  I just know how easy it is to load up the pizza with a mile-high pile of cheese – and super boost the calorie count of each piece.  That and I have a tendency to eat half the pizza in a sitting regardless of how much cheese it’s boasting  so it’s in my own best interest to be prudent before it comes out of the oven.

This pizza comes together very quickly.  If you buy a ball of dough at the deli, making a pizza is not much more difficult than making a sandwich.  If you’re making your dough from scratch you’ll want to start a couple hours before you plan to eat – OR you can make it the night before, wrap it up in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge.  Just take it out maybe a half hour before you plan to use it so it has time to come to room temp.  If it’s still a little cold when you stretch/roll it out it’s not the end of the world.

First thing we’re gonna do is make some garlic oil.  This will be our “sauce”.

Super easy – just put a 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 sliced cloves of garlic, and 1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes in a pot over LOW heat until it’s boiling.  Let it simmer for 10 minutes.  I have twice that much in this pot.  I used the leftover oil on some roasted potatoes the next night and it was aaaaahhhhhhhmazing.

So just take your garlic oil (slices of garlic and all) and pour it onto your rolled out dough, leaving a border for the crust.  Next, sprinkle on 8 oz of cheese of your choice.  There are a million options here.  Use what you’ve got handy.  I always have at least 10 kinds of cheese to work with and this week I had even more than that.  I am a lucky girl.   I used roughly equal parts shredded mozzarella, fontina, crumbled goat cheese, and grated parmesan.  You could also use monterrey jack, provolone, a white cheddar, ricotta in place of the goat cheese, a pecorino or romano in place of the parmesan.  Semi-soft cheeses like Taleggio, Camembert, and Brie would be awesome too.  Some are gooey, some are creamy, some are tangy, and some are quite salty.   Follow your intuition and mix and match to your preference.

Just please – no orange cheese.  Because then it wouldn’t be White Pizza.  Duh.

Enjoy!

White Pizza

1 1lb ball prepared pizza dough (wheat based or gluten free)

3 oz Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

2 oz Fontina, shredded

2 oz Goat Cheese, crumbled

1 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated

Dried Parsley for garnish

Garlic Oil

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Instructions:

Prepare your pizza dough as directed (bringing to room temp if it was in the fridge).

Make your garlic oil.  In a small saucepan, heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over low heat until boiling.  Turn down heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Set aside until ready to use.

Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If using a non-stick pizza pan do the same thing but put it in upside down.  I don’t know why exactly but I’ve read that advice a million times.

On a sheet of parchment paper stretch or roll out your pizza dough to about 1/4″ thickness.  (Roughly the diameter of a large commercially baked pizza, about 12-14 inches across.)  If you’re using gluten free pizza dough you may want to go a little thicker as it does not rise nearly as much in the oven as a wheat-based dough will.

Spread garlic oil on dough, leaving a rim for the crust.  Sprinkle on cheeses and parsley.

Carefully slide pizza onto your hot pizza stone, parchment paper and all (or onto your non-stick pan – just make sure you turn it right side up first!).

Bake 12 minutes.

Makes 8 large slices.

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